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‘Shadow pandemic’ – should press conferences have a mental health commander?

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Youth mental health Professor Patrick McGorry OA wants equal urgency towards combating the covid-19 and mental health pandemic at daily press conferences

“We actually need the same type of urgency, perhaps with a commander, standing up there every single day, talking about the mental health toll and what’s going to be done about,” the former Australian of the Year said.

Professor McGorry, who leads youth mental health service Orygen, said mental health is the shadow pandemic that’s “actually unfolding before our eyes”

Professor McGorry said there is no doubt that Sydney and Melbourne suffered a huge loss of morale, “so it’s a cumulative effect.”

“We don’t see the figures announced at press conferences every day, but the rising tide of people who need professional help because of their mental health has actually deteriorated,

Professor McGorry said

He is alarmed that people can’t get access to care “that’s the concern.”

Why are young people most vulnerable?

The professor said he has analysed data from New South Wales and Victoria, showing that there’s a surge in actual completed suicide in young women.

“This is the tip of a surge of young people in particular, finding their way into an emergency departments and being turned away on a daily basis, with very serious mental health conditions.”

He says that if this was happening with a virus or with any other medical condition, that would be much more community concern or political concern about it.

Young women have most vulnerable during the pandemic, as the battle with eating disorders rises.

There was a 34 per cent increase in new eating disorder cases early this year, from a weekly average of 654 in 2020 to 878 this year.

Looking at teenagers in Australia, self-harming and suicidal thoughts increased to 51 per cent, rising from a weekly average of 98 in 2020 to 148 this year.

The need for resuscitation and emergency care for teenagers, ­jumped 44.9 per cent.

Professor McGorry says that politicians have taken some positive steps on mental health both at state and federal level, but it hasn’t been executed.

“It’s stagnant. So we actually need the same type of urgency, perhaps with a commander standing up there every single day talking about the middle health toll and what’s going to be done about it,” he suggests.

“Obviously, we have to, we have to accept these lockdowns until the back of the population is vaccinated to a certain level. But there has to be a strategy to look after the people in the meantime.”

The rise in suicides comes as the nation’s teen mental health crisis skyrockets, that experts are linking to Covid-19 and lockdowns

Professor McGorry said the nation is “probably just a few steps behind what we really need.”

“We have to consider mental health as the as the parallel or shadow pandemic, because it’s actually real, that the numbers are actually supporting us 110%”

He believes this is a solvable problem with that there are solutions at hand, they “just need to be executed with the same sense of urgency as we’re executing the vaccination programme, and lockdowns and all these other sort of measures that are taken against COVID.”

Should there be a daily report alongside the COVID statistics of the mental health burden?

Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton

“I think we need to mobilise a workforce like we did for COVID. When we needed contact traces, when we needed nurses to do vaccinations, we found those staff very, very quickly that was no problem,” Professor McGorry said.

He said now the nation has a “shrinking mental health system” at a time when we need to expand it.

“We need to urgently have workforce solutions for the immediate for the next six months, not in the next three years. So workforce is critical, and actually focusing on young people. restructuring the mental health system, just like the Royal Commission said we should do around around young people is an urgent priority,” he said.

“It can’t be kicked down the road for the next three to five years. It’s got to be done now.”

Professor McGorry says political leaders need to have the exit strategy, for combating the curve of covid and the mental health pandemic.

He says the government is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, but “you’ve got to be able to do more more than one thing at a time, especially in the health sector.”

“A chief health officer, for example, must be a chief health officer, not a Chief COVID officer. So we’ve got to address other health issues at the same time.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact your local support service

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

Global services can be found here

Sport

Michael Jordan’s sneakers sell for record $1.47m at auction

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A pair of basketball shoes worn by US basketball star Michael Jordan have sold for a record price at a Las Vegas auction

Jordan wore the pair of Nike Air Ships during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984.

The shoes were what founded the iconic partnership between Jordan and Nike – now a signature global brand.

The sale also marks the highest price ever paid for game-worn footwear of any sport, easily beating out the previous record of $615,000 paid for a pair of Nike Air Jordan’s in 2020.

The price still falls short of the most expensive sneakers ever sold.

Recent sales are just the beginning of rare shoe market that’s beginning to soar.

In April, rapper Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes sold for $1.8 million at a private sale.

The record price for sneakers has broken several times in recent years, and the market is now considered much more niche than ever before, attractive interest from leading collectors as well as the general public.

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World

Ship spews toxic gas off Canada’s coast

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Sixteen people have been evacuated as fire rages onboard the Zim Kingston container ship off the coast of Canada

The vessel was en route to Vancouver when it caught fire on Saturday, and has since been expelling toxic gas which officials say is not a risk to people on land.

The coast guard reported the ship was carrying more than 52,000 kg of chemicals located in two of the ten containers that caught fire.

“The ship is on fire and expelling toxic gas,” the Canadian coast guard said. It added that 10 containers had been affected by the fire.

“Currently there is no safety risk to people on shore, however the situation will continue to be monitored,” it said.

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World

Will the future of travel ever be the same?

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As countries across the world begin to reopen their international borders, there are many questions that surround what the future of travel will look like post-COVID

COVID-19 took its toll on every sector around the world, but one that has been greatly hit has been the travel industry.

As nations across the world shut their borders, and airlines grounded their fleet, the multi-million dollar industry suddenly ground to a halt.

Fast forward to now, and there is finally some light at the end of the runway – with planes restarting their engines as destinations like Fiji, Bali, Thailand, the U.K. and United States open up.

But how will travel look going forward? It’s certainly going to be different, with many countries now requiring vaccination as a requirement of entry, while rapid-PCR testing will also be of common sight.

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